Have you taken a big deep breath outside? Be careful it's smokey. The Washington State Department of Ecology has issued an air quality alert for the Yakima area that is in effect until 10:00 am Friday, August 10th.

The alert is due to wildfires burning in the region, combined with forecasts that call for conditions which could cause air quality to reach unhealthy levels.

Pollutants in smoke can cause burning eyes, runny nose, and aggravate serious health problems such as heart and lung diseases.

Children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory illnesses are most at risk of serious health effects during the air quality alert.

The alert calls for limiting outdoor activities and keeping children indoors if the air quality is poor.

The air quality alert is in addition to an excessive heat warning the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued for the Yakima area. The warning is in effect from 2:00 p.m., Wednesday August 8th through 8:00 p.m. Thursday.